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37 with no prior service and a non-STEM masters degree...Enlist? OCS?

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
#31
God even thinking about going to boot after 30 has me cringing. Poor fella
Go on an IA and you can try boot camp lite at Fort Jackson for five weeks.

I was in the last two-week class in 2007 and Most of the people in our group were in our thirties. We were fully aware that the program was going to be three weeks long starting with the next class- and we were quite ready to leave by the end of our two weeks. One of my classmates suggested, "Let's put it in our critiques that we don't feel prepared and that three weeks still won't be long enough. Think of the suckers that have to go through this a few years from now." Funny thing was that a few years later it was even longer and I heard rumors of a mock FOB with silly rules like wearing your body armor to the porta john.

:p

 
#33
AW,

Thanks for all the good feedback!

I have a lot to consider. Some of it makes the point of why I think it's important to work through the ranks in order to lead with the full respect of the crew, really become a specialist in the field. My enlisted recruiter has mentioned how getting certain pins requires detailed knowledge about how to do someone else's job (he gave the old drop of water through the ship analogy). Is it still true that Warrant Officers basically run the show? Despite all the privileges of each rate, which type of Officers are the most helpful/useful for the day-to-day life in the Navy? How bad is life as an E-5 six months after A school? E6 after another year in?

Yes, there's nothing more annoying to me than someone who bosses me around, is paid more, but cannot do my task or even advise on how to do my task more easily/efficiently...so I can go learn something more interesting. I definitely don't care for making some idiot look good at my expense. I've heard this could happen and then the same idiot could block timely advancement since he now has a stud under his command. Still a true story?

However, it seems like the enlisted route could follow a logical progression of advancement due to accumulated skillsets to earn rank. Is that accurate? If so, I wouldn't mind someone younger, less experience/educated as a boss, because I'd expect them to actually help me get better at my rate quickly. Is that a fair assessment? That sort of structure would be ideal for me going into a heavy learning environment. Is that the same type of environment for COs? I need to read up on life as a CO, because that still is a black box for me... Could it be a more glorified version of the enlisted experience with better pay, sleeping arrangements, meals and liberties? How much of a specialist would I really become at anything new? Are the perks enough to offset the additional stress/boredom of potential admin work or arbitrary managerial decisions being dictated by a superior?

I understand that your rate is what you make of it. I could be successful regardless of the route chosen. I obviously don't know much about military life, so forgive my over-generalizations. I would like to get past the stereotypes and really understand the pros/cons and what a rewarding career looks like for my personal circumstances.

My dad (and his dad) both left as E-5s...and I bet the Navy is where my dad picked up his classic "life isn't fair" mantra; his enlisted experience being the reason why he didn't want his son to join (and squash all that potential). He was even offered NESEP at the time, but did not re-enlist. It's funny how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Thanks again,
Future Sailor
Listen carefully to the naysayers, but let me give you the flip side of the coin. I joined the navy reserve at 28 in 2003. Was able to enter as an E-3. I was an E-5 within a few years. I also early promoted to E-6 after only being and E-5 for about a year. I did one mobilization 2008-2009 to afghanistan. Was lucky enough to be deployed as an augmentee with the Army and I ended up sitting in an O-4 billet running an intel shop in a combat zone for 9 months because the O-2 they had was terrible and they pushed him out.

The experience was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. You will feel too old to be mid level enlisted, but frankly - once you get to E-6 and approach chief it's not too bad. You can run into a few assholes, but mostly it's only your own ego that can get in the way.

If you make good money in your civilian job, proceed with caution. Deploying as an E-5 to a combat zone - the money isn't too bad and you have no expenses. You can probably take home 50-65k in year. If you are single and pocketing everything, that's not big deal. In fact, you will save more money on a mobilization than you will at home as an E-5. If you are married and make more than 60K - you are taking hit financially when you deploy - and you will deploy, just a question of when and where. Keep this in mind.

I got out 2011. Finished law school - applied to JAG and just about every officer program you an imagine because I missed the Navy Reserve. I was not selected for any of them, but I love the Navy. I ended up re-enlisting after not be selected for a direct commission back in 2017. I re-enlisted back in March 2018. I had to take a reduction in rate from E-6 to E-5 to get back in. It was risk for me too. I make pretty good money these days and I'm married now, so 50-65 k to deploy isn't going to cut it. My thought was make E-6 again and then E-7 quick or O-1 and it will be worth it.

Luckily I was finally selected to a direct commission after re-enlisting at the Sept 18 board. Just waiting to pin now. I'm in the for the long haul. I have nearly 9 years in now. I'm 44. So while there are plenty of people telling you true stuff that is discouraging, I'd say listen to them, but recognize that there are more sides to it. If you are willing to check your ego, work hard, apply, fail, and then go and ask what you need to do to succeed next time and just never quit, you can make the reserve work for you too. It has for me - but the naysayers aren't making it up. It can be hard and there are some bad days too.

Best fo luck!
 
#34
Listen carefully to the naysayers, but let me give you the flip side of the coin. I joined the navy reserve at 28 in 2003. Was able to enter as an E-3. I was an E-5 within a few years. I also early promoted to E-6 after only being and E-5 for about a year. I did one mobilization 2008-2009 to afghanistan. Was lucky enough to be deployed as an augmentee with the Army and I ended up sitting in an O-4 billet running an intel shop in a combat zone for 9 months because the O-2 they had was terrible and they pushed him out.

The experience was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. You will feel too old to be mid level enlisted, but frankly - once you get to E-6 and approach chief it's not too bad. You can run into a few assholes, but mostly it's only your own ego that can get in the way.

If you make good money in your civilian job, proceed with caution. Deploying as an E-5 to a combat zone - the money isn't too bad and you have no expenses. You can probably take home 50-65k in year. If you are single and pocketing everything, that's not big deal. In fact, you will save more money on a mobilization than you will at home as an E-5. If you are married and make more than 60K - you are taking hit financially when you deploy - and you will deploy, just a question of when and where. Keep this in mind.

I got out 2011. Finished law school - applied to JAG and just about every officer program you an imagine because I missed the Navy Reserve. I was not selected for any of them, but I love the Navy. I ended up re-enlisting after not be selected for a direct commission back in 2017. I re-enlisted back in March 2018. I had to take a reduction in rate from E-6 to E-5 to get back in. It was risk for me too. I make pretty good money these days and I'm married now, so 50-65 k to deploy isn't going to cut it. My thought was make E-6 again and then E-7 quick or O-1 and it will be worth it.

Luckily I was finally selected to a direct commission after re-enlisting at the Sept 18 board. Just waiting to pin now. I'm in the for the long haul. I have nearly 9 years in now. I'm 44. So while there are plenty of people telling you true stuff that is discouraging, I'd say listen to them, but recognize that there are more sides to it. If you are willing to check your ego, work hard, apply, fail, and then go and ask what you need to do to succeed next time and just never quit, you can make the reserve work for you too. It has for me - but the naysayers aren't making it up. It can be hard and there are some bad days too.

Best fo luck!
Wow! Inspiring story.
 
#35
Wow! Inspiring story.
Thanks! It's fun to see both sides of this. It can be hard - the naysayers aren't lying, but it can work too. Mostly comes down to attitude and motivation in my opinion, though I'll admit I've met some very successful negative people, so I'm not exactly sure what make the difference. I'd say its more fun with a positive outlook but it might come down to determination. I think enlisting at 37 can be done and done well.
 
#38
For every guy that enlists at 28 and has a life changing positive experience on a mobilization, there are many others who wind up wondering why they’re doing something pointless in the desert for 50k. I guess I’m negative.
I don't think any of you are giving bad gouge - I just happen to think the individual can make things turn their way. Anyone going in should really think about if they want this, because all the stuff you mention, is going to have to be dealt with. It's true. But it can work and he could do this. The individual can make things turn their way. Not every time, not even on time most of the time, but eventually. If you keep trying at things you succeed sometimes. Particularly if you are willing to ask your bosses what do you need to see me do to succeed next time and then you actually go do it. It's worked for more times than I can count. Way better than the lottery. I gave that road up years ago. :)
 
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Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
#40
In the reserves, people's enlisted paygrade vs their age and their life experiences is all over the map compared to active duty. Mobilizations can be all over the map too- if you're a reservist who is a lot older than the typical active duty, early twenty-something E-4/5/6 and you go on a mobilization, there will be inescapable moments when people assume that you need adult leadership by virtue of you being "just" another enlisted dude. Unfortunately at that moment, nobody is going to care that you have a masters degree, or if you are a health care administrator in a major department in a big hospital, or if you're a licensed engineer, or a police detective in a medium sized city, or that you're studying for the bar exam or the nurse pharmacology exam, or whatever your usual thing is in civilian life... If your military job is very specialized then those moments will be fewer and farther between, but they're still gonna happen. Wearing an officer rank is like magic- people bug you a lot less and that's just how it is.

Also, a lot of active duty people are unaware that sometimes enlisted reservists have full plates with their real job/family/life commitments. You'll get a lot of sideways questions, "buuuut you have a degree so whyyyy don't you get a commission uhhhhh I'm so confused why you don't do that?!??" That's another one of those things that are just how it is.

Thinking way ahead to a reserve retirement is if you retire as an E-6 (all of them in the reserves) and you did the minimum plus one or two deployments, a typical retirement check is a few hundred bucks a month take-home. If you start as an O-1 and retire as an O-4 and worked a similar schedule, then the check might be several hundred bucks. Neither is enough to live on, of course. Funny thing is if you're seventy years old and your main income stream is from your long, successful civilian career, how much do you care which of those military retirement checks you get? Straight active duty people look forward to retirement checks of thousands of dollars a month, but many of them don't understand the rules for reserve retirements. What you will care about is that both have access to the same healthcare at the same cost- that is a big deal to most people who stick it out in the reserves.
 
#41
Tell me if I'm way off here @Reservist, but I feel like this whole situation will be a lot different drilling on the weekends vice living it every day on AD...?
I might agree with you on this RedFive.

I was a reservist from 2003 -2011 - so I agree doing this as a reservist would be the way to go. It's a part time job. Promotion comes easier. So I may have missed something if the poster is contemplating active duty. That would be tough road - but really mostly just financially. I would really caution anyone doing active duty enlistment at 37 unless they can get in at E-4 or E-5 (even then - really pause). Not a deal breaker, but the money is tough unless you are really not in need for money ect... The ego rub is really tough on active duty (done a bit too) no matter the age on the enlisted side till you get to E-6 and even then it can be tough.
 
#42
I might agree with you on this RedFive.

I was a reservist from 2003 -2011 - so I agree doing this as a reservist would be the way to go. It's a part time job. Promotion comes easier. So I may have missed something if the poster is contemplating active duty. That would be tough road - but really mostly just financially. I would really caution anyone doing active duty enlistment at 37 unless they can get in at E-4 or E-5 (even then - really pause). Not a deal breaker, but the money is tough unless you are really not in need for money ect... The ego rub is really tough on active duty (done a bit too) no matter the age on the enlisted side till you get to E-6 and even then it can be tough.
Reservist, I always appreciate a different point of view. As RedFive said though AD is probably going to be much different than your reserve experience. Sometimes you just don't get a break that you need. You can almost be certain that he will not advance at the rate you did though, even as a nuke you won't blow through E-5 in a year, good sailors sit there for years, there might not just be enough billets. Hell I know a CTI who was shit hot with great evals and a deplo, she just now made E-6 after 4 years as a second class. I mean he could hit the lottery, but honestly I wouldn't let anyone I like enlist if they were over 26ish.
 
#43
Reservist, I always appreciate a different point of view. As RedFive said though AD is probably going to be much different than your reserve experience. Sometimes you just don't get a break that you need. You can almost be certain that he will not advance at the rate you did though, even as a nuke you won't blow through E-5 in a year, good sailors sit there for years, there might not just be enough billets. Hell I know a CTI who was shit hot with great evals and a deplo, she just now made E-6 after 4 years as a second class. I mean he could hit the lottery, but honestly I wouldn't let anyone I like enlist if they were over 26ish.
I hear you - maybe he should take a look at the Reserve - I think your points are excellent. I also think he could have the best of both worlds with the reserve. It's very easy to mobilize as a reservist and advance at the rates I'm mentioning. He could also put on some rank and then mob. I think there's a way - I agree - it could go terribly too if you aren't totally motivated and willing to wiggle. But the reserve angle can work.
 

JLew

New Member
#44
AW,

A quick update...

I took the OAR and got a 53. That was not a fun experience... I believe this score still qualifies me for Intel, even though it may not be super competitive. I'll try to get a strong package together and see how it goes in March!

I haven't ruled out the reserve options. It might be the perfect way to move forward if I run out of time for selection.

Cheers,
 

RUFiO181

Making Recruiting Great Again
#45
AW,

A quick update...

I took the OAR and got a 53. That was not a fun experience... I believe this score still qualifies me for Intel, even though it may not be super competitive. I'll try to get a strong package together and see how it goes in March!

I haven't ruled out the reserve options. It might be the perfect way to move forward if I run out of time for selection.

Cheers,
Unless you have Intel-related work experience I wouldn’t waste your time applying for DCO Intel.
 
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